Snap Reaction: You can count on Justin Verlander when you need to.
That's not new information for you. Last year, he served as the stopper, often winning after his team lost. Saturday, he played that role again as Detroit beat Texas, 3-2. Of course, if anyone could slow down the Rangers' red-hot bats, it was Verlander.
Yet Texas again led the game first, just as the Rangers had in the opening two contests of the series. This time they weren't hitting the ball all over the field. The run came after a leadoff walk moved around the bases and scored on a sac fly. But with Verlander on the mound, the damage was limited to a lone run in the fourth.
Detroit answered in the bottom half of the inning. Brennan Boesch was hit on the elbow by a pitch that appeared to do some damage. Boesch stayed in the game. Prince Fielder walked with two outs to extend the inning. Then the next four Tigers batters made it to first safely, two by walks and two with hits. Delmon Young knotted the game at 1-1 with a single to shallow left, and Ramon Santiago gave the Tigers the rest of their allotment of runs with a two RBI single to left center. Amazingly, Detroit was held to just three hits for the game. Fielder had the other. Neftali Feliz went the complete game in the loss.
After that, it was up to the Tigers' pitching. Verlander made it through six innings with a pitch count that reached 116. (Whatever happened to those first-pitch swings? Texas got his count up pretty well.) Verlander had eight striekouts, but walked three and allowed four hits. Octavio Dotel did his job, making his 700th career appearance a scoreless one. Joaquin Benoit nearly got out of the eighth unscathed, but it's never that easy. Texas cut the score to 3-2 with David Murphy's second RBI of the game. This was a two-out single.
Naturally, Jose Valverde made it eventful with a pair of walks before escaping with the save. Detroit cardiologists rejoice after hearts stopped on a fly ball to Ryan Raburn, but no harm was done.
Whew. The Tigers improved to 10-5 on the year. The Rangers lost just their third game.